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Apple Mac trackpad tricks
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Tech tips

10 Mac trackpad tricks you wish you knew before now

The war between Mac and PC is not as heated as it used to be. After all, you can run iTunes on your PC and Windows on your Mac. And while Macs have traditionally had a better reputation for graphic design, you can do just as much with a PC nowadays.

Still, most people stick to what they’re used to. For Mac users, we put together a list of 10 tricks to help you get more done in less time. Tap or click here to learn more.

You can do more with your Mac trackpad than just clicking and double-clicking. You can tap, swipe, pinch, or spread one or more fingers to perform more actions, such as opening useful tools, zooming in or out, turning pages and more.

1. Smart zoom

Double-tap with two fingers to zoom in and back out of a webpage or PDF.

Source: Apple

This is a quick way to zoom in on one part of your screen, similar to double-tapping with one finger on your iPhone.

2. Swipe between pages

Swipe left or right with two fingers to show the previous or next page.

Source: Apple

This works best with any app that has multiple pages. When using a web browser, this will take you back and forth between open pages.

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3. Scroll

Slide two fingers up or down to scroll.

Source: Apple

Use this shortcut to scroll through web pages, PDFs, open windows and more.

4. Rotate

Move two fingers around each other to rotate a photo or other item.

Source: Apple

Quickly set a photo in portrait or landscape mode. Not every app supports this function. Open your image using the Preview app to try out rotation.

5. Zoom in/out

Pinch with two fingers to zoom in or out.

Source: Apple

This is just like zooming with a smartphone or tablet.

6. Look up and data detectors

Tap with three fingers to look up a word or take actions with dates, addresses, phone numbers and other data.

Source: Apple

Use look up text on a webpage or email message to get more information about the text. Data detector detects interactive data, such as dates and contact numbers, and lets you open it in relevant apps such as Calendar or Contacts.

7. Show desktop

Spread your thumb and three fingers apart to show your desktop.

Source: Apple

Use the show desktop shortcut to minimize all open apps and programs and view your desktop.

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8. Mission Control

Swipe up with four fingers to open Mission Control.

Source: Apple

Mission Control is one of the fastest ways to view all your open windows and apps. You can also add Spaces for different tasks. Mission Control offers a bird’s-eye view of all your open windows, desktop spaces, and any apps in full-screen or Split View, making it easy to switch between them. 

9. Launchpad

Pinch your thumb and three fingers together to display Launchpad.

Source: Apple

Use Launchpad to open, find and organize your apps.

10. Three finger drag

Use three fingers to drag items on your screen and then click or tap to drop. You may need to enable this setting. Here’s how:

  • Go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences > Accessibility.
  • Select Pointer Control in the sidebar (in earlier versions of macOS, select Mouse & Trackpad).
  • Select Trackpad Options.
  • Select Enable dragging and choose three finger drag from the menu.
  • Click OK.
Source: Apple

This accessibility feature simulates a click and drag. Use it to move windows and files around or select multiple items at once. Select text in an email or drag an image from a webpage and drop it onto your desktop.

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